Writing for Forbes, Matthew Herper documents the FDA’s increasing drug approval rates. “In 2008, BioMedTracker says the FDA approved 20 new molecular entities (NMEs) and rejected 20, for an approval rate of 50%.” So far this year, he writes, “the FDA approval rate is more like 96%.”
The International Business Times covers a new study showing “trials for new antidepressant medications may not be applicable to the population at large.” “The finding, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, shows recent trials are less generalizable than the prior studies, as researchers excluded most depressed patients from drug company-sponsored treatment studies.”
With 1 in 5 Americans taking a psychiatric medication, most of whom, long term, we should probably start to learn a bit more about them. In fact, it would have been in the service of true informed consent to have investigated long-term risks before the deluge of these meds seized our population over the past thirty years.
A recent article on the website i09 titled, ‘The Most popular Antidepressants are Based on an Outdated Theory” has again raised the issue of Chemical Imbalances. It is interesting that the author of the i09 piece cites Dr. Peter Kramer and states, “Some psychiatrists vehemently disagree with the way journalists and other psychiatrists have pushed back against the chemical imbalance theory….” In both cases he cited what he considered the best evidence in support of the theory, but he did not discuss the research in any depth. Back in 2008, we took an in-depth look at the evidence that Dr. Kramer used to support the chemical imbalance theory. When one takes a closer look at that research we do not think it supports the theory. For this reason, we are reposting our 2008 essay about this.
The impact of long-term SSRIs on memory-related nerve cell receptors does have functional consequences. Research shows that SSRIs impair the acquisition of fear memories. (Perhaps a positive outcome.) But unlearning fear memories involves new learning as well, and according to a study by LeDoux and colleagues, long-term exposure to SSRIs makes it harder to unlearn fear memories.
I thought I would make a small contribution to the discussion about how coverage of the recent airline tragedy focuses so much on the supposed ‘mental illness’ of the pilot and not so much on the possible role of antidepressants. Of course we will never know the answer to these questions but it is important, I think, to combat the simplistic nonsense wheeled out after most such tragedies, the nonsense that says the person had an illness that made them do awful things. So, just to confirm what many recipients of antidepressants, clinicians and researchers have been saying for a long time, here are some findings from our recent New Zealand survey of over 1,800 people taking anti-depressants, which we think is the largest survey to date.
With the current focus on the possible contribution of psychoactive drugs to the crash of GermanWings flight A320 on Tuesday, March 24, it is useful to identify potential links between the effect of the antidepressants and the events. In all 47 cases listed on SSRIstories, the pilots were taking antidepressant medications, mostly SSRIs, often in combination with other medications and sometimes with alcohol.
The crash last week of the Germanwings plane has shocked many. In view of the apparent mental health record of the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, questions have been asked about the screening policies of airlines. The focus has generally been on the conditions pilots may have or the arguments they might be having with partners or other situational factors that might make them unstable. Even when the issue of the medication a pilot may be taking is raised, it is in the context of policies that permit pilots to continue on drugs like antidepressants to ensure any underlying conditions are effectively treated. But fewer treatments in medicine are effective in this sense than people might think and even when effective they come with effects that need to be balanced against the likely effects of the underlying condition.
In the BMJ this week there is a debate about the antidepressants. On the “Yes, The antidepressants are overprescribed” side is Des Spence. This is hardly a new debate and Des Spence makes a good case for the overuse of the antidepressants, but what caught our eye was the response by Adrian Preda, and his discussion about the findings of Irving Kirsch.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has posted a response to the 60 minutes segment on Irving Kirsch and the placebo effect in antidepressant research. But is their response based on scientific data?
Last night, 60 Minutes presented the work of Irving Kirsch, who has been researching the placebo effect in antidepressants for many years. We discuss.
It is refreshing that The New York Times in the space of four days has published two articles which take a critical view of...